WeBuyAnyCar.com shock and scare tactics leads to negative brand equity

12 Aug 2010

Selling your used car
We own a 53 Reg Peugeot 206 and are thinking of an upgrade. I'm not really into cars - I just use them to get from A to B. I'm not really all that fond of the idea of selling privately although I know that it's probably the best way of getting the most for your used car. Having a look at car price guides such as Parkers or WhatCar confirms this although a garage will tell you that these guides mean nothing (unfortunately they do mean something as they set a sellers expectation). The values for "Private in good condition" varied by a few hundred pounds but I set my expectations at around £2,000. So, I decided to try out WeBuyAnyCar.com to see what they would offer me.

I filled in the online form and instantly got a valuation of £1,195. Due to the difference between my expectation and the offer price being £800 I decided to not proceed with the sale through WeBuyAnyCar.com.

Over the next few weeks I received a few more emails from WeBuyAnyCar.com about the valuation. I ignored them all knowing the price they were offering me was unfair. I know they need to make a profit but I'm afraid roughly a 40% profit is extracting the urine.

Last week I went into the local Honda garage, West End Garage, who provided truly excellent customer service. They checked over the car, did some research and gave me part-exchange quote of £1,700. This is still £300 off what I was hoping for but it's within the realms of acceptability. This was still £500 better than WeBuyAnyCar.com.

Shock and Scare Tactics
Yesterday I got a call from my Dad about an article he'd read an some newspaper (I think this may be the article - I've not read it). The article was about a computer virus that automatically transferred funds out of your bank account and it recommended that you phoned up all your banks and disabled any bank transfers. The article sounded like it had quite a few quotes from an Internet security firm who, to me, were really playing this up and using it as a big marketing opportunity. These shock and scare tactics really, really, annoy me. I told my Dad that he should make sure his anti-virus was up to date, check his firewall was on and told him that he also had a hardware firewall in his router so he should be okay as long as he didn't do anything silly like run random downloaded or email attachment files. Common sense, not shock and scare!

This morning I got an email from WeBuyAnyCar.com:

As a previous customer of webuyanycar.com , we are please to inform you that your car price has increased! We constantly review our prices to ensure that our customers receive the best possible valuation for their car in line with market prices.

This September sees the launch of the new '60' plate, and used car values are typically at a high before the release of any new plate, however prices will also plummet almost immediately afterwards. Therefore in order to maximise the price of your car, you need to act now!

Your car has already been re-valued using the details you initially supplied and we're delighted to issue an increased valuation of £1,355 assuming the condition of your car is unchanged and still available for sale.

Due to fluctuating market conditions, we can only hold your new valuation for seven days. So, if you're still in the market to sell your car please book your appointment online and sell your car the easy way.

Shock and scare! Not in exactly the same way as the Internet security firm but pretty damn close in my eyes. I'm particularly annoyed by this sentence:

This September sees the launch of the new '60' plate, and used car values are typically at a high before the release of any new plate, however prices will also plummet almost immediately afterwards

Clearly nobody wants the value of anything they own to plummet! They are offering an instant jump in your car value of £160, for seven days only and then the potential of losing even more money on your car. In some circumstances this increase of £160 would be enough to potentially make somebody make an impulse decision about selling the car but when added to the possibility of the value plummeting the chances increase further.

Negative Brand Equity
I share the same opinion as Gary Vaynerchuk in that the Internet is leading to small town rules on a global scale. This means that customer service and honesty matter. If you deliver exceptional customer service, and to do that you must be honest, then you will ultimately be rewarded. Your brand will become recognised, valued and trusted.
With the sorts of tactics that WeBuyAnyCar.com are applying it won't be long until their brand is dirt. It already is to me.


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